Hinesburgh Public House shares profits

SCOOTER MACMILLAN
Staff Writer

The Racial Alliance Committee at Champlain Valley Union High School is hoping that you’ll eat at the Hinesburgh Public House on at least one Sunday during September.

And during November, the children’s programs at the Carpenter-Carse Library will most likely be hoping you’ll get your Sunday chow there as well.

This is because the Hinesburgh Public House has announced that it is donating 10 percent of its revenues to the Racial Alliance Committee on Sundays in September and to Carpenter-Carse Library’s children’s programs in November.

The restaurant plans to follow the Sunday percentage plan for nonprofit organizations every other month.

Hinesburgh Public House owner Will Patten said that Sundays for nonprofits are part of their mission. The restaurant is registered as a Vermont benefit corporation, which means that it doesn’t just exist for the benefit of shareholders. As a benefit corporation, it has five stakeholders and serves the interests of those five groups – their guests, their employees, local food and beverage producers, community builders and shareholders.

The Racial Alliance Committee and the Carpenter-Carse Library’s children programs fulfill the community builders part of their mission.

Patten said, “I worked for Ben & Jerry’s for a long time. When Unilever and others came for a hostile takeover, they didn’t want to sell but they were intimidated by the threat of a shareholder lawsuit,” Patten said. “If Ben & Jerry’s had been able to be chartered as a benefit corporation they wouldn’t have to have sold because they could say, ‘We have other stakeholders than the shareholders.”

Patten, the former director of Vermont Business for Social Responsibility, said RAC is the first organization to benefit from the Sunday sharing of the restaurant revenues.

“For two reasons,” he said. “We followed RAC last year as they were trying to raise the Black Lives Matter flag and also with what’s happened in our nation. We’re interested in whatever we can do to support diversity.”

Elyse Martin-Smith, one of RAC’s leaders, said being chosen by the Hinesburgh Public House was exciting because “it shows that there is community support for this club.”

She said they did a lot of teaching in the classroom at CVU last year and that they hope to use the money to expand that to a larger scale.

Carolina Sicotte, another RAC leader, said, “We’re thinking of hosting an event to raise awareness and interact with the community, as we’ve been focused within the walls of CVU.”

She said they hope to keep the momentum going and connect with other schools that have justice organizations.

“We’re hoping that the publicity will open the flood gates and lots of other little community building organizations will come to us and say, ‘Hey, what about me?’” said Patten.

So, you might say that on Sundays during every other month, the Hinesburgh Public House is serving food for thoughtfulness.

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